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The Implications of Sea-Level Rise on the Brazilian Coast: A Preliminary Assessment

Dieter Muehe and Claudio F. Neves
Journal of Coastal Research
SPECIAL ISSUE NO. 14. Potential Impacts of Accelerated Sea-Level Rise on Developing Countries (SPRING 1995), pp. 54-78
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25735701
Page Count: 25
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Implications of Sea-Level Rise on the Brazilian Coast: A Preliminary Assessment
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Abstract

While continuous tide gauge records on the coast of Brazil are limited in location and duration (less than 50 years), relative mean sea level shows a rising trend over the last three decades. This refutes the widespread belief in Brazil that sea level is falling and shows that the potential impacts of sea-level rise need to be evaluated. However, little suitable geographic and socioeconomic information is presently available for assessing the impacts of sea-level rise in Brazil. Therefore, a methodology was devised to indicate potential impacts based on four guidelines: geomorphology of the coast, existing erosional problems, availability of tidal information, and the geopolitical divisions of the country. This analysis utilized information on general geomorphic characteristics of the coast, distribution of population (based on 1980 and 1991 census), measured trends in sea level, and characteristics of ports and harbors. The distribution of population revealed that about 30 million people (about 20% of the national population) are living in coastal counties. This changes the current self-image of Brazil as a coastal-oriented country. Nevertheless, as coastal populations are heavily concentrated in the vicinity of state capitals, relative sea-level rise would cause serious impacts at such locations. Five vulnerable locations around urban areas are recommended for further studies: Salinópolis (PA), Fortaleza (CE), Recife (PE), Rio de Janeiro (RJ) and Rio Grande (RS).

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